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DIRECTOR: Joshua Michael Stern
CAST: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, JK Simmons, Lesley Ann Warren, Ahna O’Reilly, John Getcz, James Woods, Matthew Modine
CLASSIFICATION: 10-12 PG L
RUNNING TIME: 128 minutes
OPENING with the now iconic keynote speech introducing the iPod, a speech that changed the world of music as we know it, this film then moves from one iconic moment in the history of Apple – as it pertains to Steve Jobs (Kutcher) – to the next.
Then, suddenly it fizzles out like it ran out of budget and had to just put the finished product – which, if you go by what you see, happened to Apple Macintosh quite a lot – on to the market.
Ashton Kutcher gets the look and walk of the fruitarian who was Steve Jobs, just right, but other than persuading us he was a heel to his friends and very focused, we don’t ever understand what drove him. Or, at least, this film is not going to tell you what that was.
What we do get is a highlights package of how a group of geeks got together in the 1970s and planted the seed of what would morph into the world’s most valuable company by last year.
Jobs is painted as an LSD-loving hippy with an obsession with the principles of design, who gave really good motivational speeches to rally his fellow geeks around the tech table, while cheating them behind their backs.
Starting off in his parents’ garage with Steve Wozniak (Gad), building circuit boards and meeting Mike Markkula (Mulroney) over sandwiches at his mother’s dining room table, his business acumen shines through and Kutcher convinces you that he is Jobs.
Anyone who worships at the cult of Mac, and there are many of us, will love the nostalgic reminiscence – the creation of the Apple Macintosh, the evolution of the operating system and key meetings like introducing John Scully (Modine) and Johny Ive (Giles Matthew even sounds like the original guy).
The production team mined the Apple museum and hauled out everything from an Apple 2 to that first click wheel iPod.
Actors seem to have been cast more on their resemblance to original people than for any other reason and the script goes for sentiment over underlying motivation or deep seated reflection every time.
Ultimately it is an unfulfilling film because it does not give us what we came to see, which is what drove Jobs. We already know what he achieved – it is on YouTube.
Kutcher gives a great impression of the man, but not the inspired performance we were hoping for.
If you liked The Iron Lady or Behind the Candelabra you will like this.